Monday, July 21, 2008

The Bushes Are Homophobic!

No, not those bushes (from The Telegraph (UK)):
A council has been accused of discriminating against homosexuals over plans to clear undergrowth from a notorious gay cruising spot.

Bristol City Council wants to prune bushes and remove cover from an area known as the Downs to improve the landscape and encourage rare wildlife.

But its own gay rights group has opposed the move, claiming that cutting back the bushes was "discriminating" to homosexual men who used the area for late night outdoor sex known as dogging.

Work on the beauty spot has been temporarily delayed while talks with gay rights groups take place to try and break the deadlock.

The area of the Downs sits at the top of the Avon Gorge, in the upmarket Clifton suburb of Bristol and is home to various species of rare plants and wildlife.

[...] The area hit the headlines last year when four firemen who disturbed an outdoor gay sex session were reprimanded and fined after they shone torches into the undergrowth.

The Downs Committee commissioned a report as part of ongoing improvements to the shrubland and have proposed cutting back a lot of the undergrowth.

The move was strongly backed by local residents who complained about "inappropriate sexual activity" and safety concerns in the area.

But during the consultation period last year "equality" concerns were raised by the council's Rainbow Group - an action group of lesbian, gay and bisexual council employees - about the threat to gay rights.

[...] A row blew up last October when it was revealed that four fire fighters had been disciplined for allegedly disturbing a gay sex session on the Downs by shining their torches into the bushes.

After complaints that their actions were homophobic, the four senior officers from Avon Fire Service were fined £1,000 and transferred to other fire stations.
Dogging? No, thanks, I don't think I really want to know. Where have you gone, Rudyard Kipling?